Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court of the United States’

Cross-posted from our mother blog at CitizenVox. We don’t normally cross-post much because we’d prefer you to read their blog just as much as ours, but if you’re not, please add them to your rss feed now!

Of the $176.1 million spent by outside groups using large, often undisclosed contributions to influence the current elections, just 10 groups are responsible for the bulk of the spending, according to a new analysis released today by Public Citizen.

What’s more, 59.9 percent of the money comes from undisclosed sources. Of those contributions that have been disclosed, nearly two-thirds has come from just 0.12 percent of the contributors. The analysis of data from Public Citizen’s Stealth PACs database shows that:

  • Those groups have spent $176.1 million. Of that, $114.6 million, or 65 percent, was spent by only 10 groups.
  • From the 10 groups, money spent on behalf of Republicans has outpaced money spent on behalf of Democrats $79.4 million to $28.5 million.
  • Five groups have spent money on more than 35 races each. Eleven groups have spent money on more than 20 races each.
  • Eighty groups have not disclosed any information about the sources of their money. These groups have spent $105.4 million of the $176.1 million total. Only $70.7 million of the spending – just 40.1 percent – has come from disclosed sources.
  • Thirty groups have entered the fray for the first time in 2010 in the past two weeks.

“Outside group funding is shaking the foundations of our electoral democracy, but the situation is far worse than it seems at first blush,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “A tiny number of organizations, relying on a tiny number of corporate and fat cat contributors, are spending most of the money on the vicious attack ads dominating the airwaves. The vast majority of donors remain hidden behind a veil of secrecy, in many cases of doubtful legality. The biggest surge in funding will come in the next week. And this election cycle’s spending is merely a prelude to something far worse in 2012. The trigger for all this was the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United; the key to repairing our democracy is a constitutional amendment to undo the decision.”

The analysis includes charts identifying the groups spending the most to influence this year’s elections, the groups engaged in the most contests, the races that have been the subject of the most outside spending and the contests focused on by the independent groups that have sprung up in the past two weeks.

The Stealth PACs site allows users to search the expenditures and limited contribution data of independent groups that are intervening in this year’s elections using contributions of more than $5,000 or undisclosed contributions.

The site also enumerates the outside groups’ expenditures on each race, discloses the vendors and other recipients of expenditures of $1,000 or more, and provides links to the FEC filings on expenditure data.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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In a message from the State Bar President Terry Tottenham to members of the Bar, he reminds attorney’s in this State that there are  important changes being considered to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (TDRPC) and that the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors is conducting a series of public education hearings on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Board of the State Bar has created an online clearinghouse of information regarding the proposed rule changes at www.texasbar.com/ethics. The site includes:

  • the revised proposed amendments and interpretive comments (click here for PDF)
  • a redlined version of the proposed changes (click here for PDF)
  • an overview of the process and summary of significant changes written by the Court’s rules attorney (click here for PDF)

The site will be updated with audio recordings of the public education hearings and other relevant information. Lawyers and members of the public are encouraged to post comments.

Changes to the disciplinary rules will affect all Texas lawyers and their clients . Many organizations, including Public Citizen, as well as individuals have weighed in on the proposed amendments. We  believe that the public has not been adequately informed of opportunities to comment and that the proposed amendments run counter to the public interest. Click here for an open letter from our director, Tom “Smitty” Smith. Click here for the comments Public Citizen submitted to the Texas Supreme Court regarding the proposed amendments. Click here for links to other comments the State Bar has received.

The State Bar Board of Directors will discuss the proposed TDRPC amendments and any recommendations or comments during the board’s quarterly meeting in Clear Lake on Oct. 1, 2010.

If you have questions about the proposed amendments or the State Bar’s public-education process, or if you wish to submit written comments, please contact Ray Cantu at (512) 427-1506 or rcantu@texasbar.com.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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